On Election Day, voters in Colorado and Washington State approved measures to legalize and control recreational marijuana use.

Though the Pew Research Center has not asked Americans about the issue this year, the public was divided in 2011 over whether the use of marijuana should be made legal or not. Half (50%) said they opposed legalization while nearly as many (45%) favored it.

In March, 2011, support for legalizing marijuana was up slightly from one year earlier. Over the previous 40 years, drawing on trends from Gallup and the General Social Survey, support for legalizing marijuana use had never been higher.

Young people under the age of 30 favored legalizing the use of marijuana by a 54%-42% margin. Opinion was divided among those in middle age groups. Those 65 and older were broadly opposed to legalization (66% illegal, 30% legal).

A slim majority of Democrats (53%) favored legalizing the use of marijuana, while 43% were opposed. Republicans, by contrast, said they oppose legalization by a wide 67%-30% margin. Independents were divided in their views: 49% said marijuana should be legal, 45% illegal. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.